"ParaNorman": About a lonely boy who ultimately gains social acceptance vis-à-vis his ability to speak to dead people. This is easily the scariest and creepiest of the five films nominated for Best Animated Feature. Rated PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor and language. Ok.com rating: 68 percent positive, ages 10+. Common Sense Media recommendation: ages 12+.
"The Pirates! Band of Misfits": A merry pirate named Captain leads his band of sailors in search of treasure and fame. Be prepared to laugh a lot during this movie, which comes from the creators of “Wallace & Grommit.” Rated PG for mild action, rude humor and some language. Ok.com rating: 92 percent positive, ages 6+. Common Sense Media recommendation: ages 6+.
"Wreck-It Ralph": Disney film in which longtime video-game villain Ralph tries to make friends and turn over a new leaf in life. Also, don’t miss “Paperman” — the seven-minute Disney featurette that’s nominated this year for Best Animated Short, and which airs immediately before “Wreck-It Ralph.” Rated PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence. OK.com rating: 94 percent positive, ages 6+. Common Sense Media recommendation: ages 7+.
Best of the rest
For adult moviegoers, here are a few more Oscar nominees generally unencumbered by egregious content and likely worth the price of admission.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild": The jewel of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, “Beasts” earned four nominations including Best Picture and Best Actress for 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis. As the New York Times’ A.O. Scott wrote, “The movie, a passionate and unruly explosion of Americana, winks at skepticism, laughs at sober analysis and stares down criticism.” Rated PG-13 for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language and brief sensuality. Ok.com rating: N/A. Common Sense Media recommendation: ages 14+.
"Moonrise Kingdom": A month after showing up on several critics’ end-of-year top 10 lists, this quirky comedy was relegated to a single Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Nonetheless, it’s still a must-see for fans of smart dialogue or oddball humor. Rated PG-13 for sexual content and smoking. Ok.com rating: 82 percent positive, ages 14+. Common Sense Media recommendation: ages 14+.
"The Impossible": Based on a true story. Naomi Watts nabbed a Best Actress nomination for her turn as a wife and mother who fights to keep her family alive in the midst of the 2004 tsunami that devastated Thailand. Rated PG-13 for intense realistic disaster sequences, including disturbing injury images and brief nudity. Ok.com rating: N/A. Common Sense Media recommendation: ages 13+.
"5 Broken Cameras": A Best Documentary Feature nominee about escalating tensions between Palestinians and Israelis, “5 Broken Cameras” succeeds in showing audiences a side of the story that never makes the nightly news. As the Deseret News reported last year, this film forces its audience to take a fresh look at a complicated social conflict with no solution in sight. Not rated. Shows violent encounters between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers.
"Searching for Sugar Man": Nominated for Best Documentary Feature. “Searching for Sugar Man” shows how — completely unbeknownst to him — the '70s folk singer Rodriguez has been a hugely popular musical artist in South Africa during the last couple decades despite being an afterthought everywhere else in the world. Last year the television show “60 Minutes” profiled Rodriguez. Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some drug references. Ok.com rating: N/A. Common Sense Media recommendation: N/A.
Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-236-6051.
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